SCAA Expo Trend: Batch Brewing At Home
Part One of a series, in which our newest contributor Matthew P. Williams takes you inside the showroom at SCAA 2012.
This year on the tradeshow floor we spotted several trends among new products, but I want to start first with a commercial urge that seems to reflect one base desire: to develop a brewer to supplant the Technivorm as our market’s best, most consistent automatic coffee machine for the home.
Because the Technivorm Moccamaster is a great product, no shade, there’s now a push from all directions of the market to release new machines and usurp Technivorm from the catbird seat. I think this trend is so prevalent right now for a variety of reasons: the demand that Technivorm’s quality has created; the fact that many coffee professionals (both old and new guard) take quality batch brewing quite seriously; market reflection from batch brewing manufacturers, whose new products keep getting better and better to meet demand (both for the home and cafe); and affordability, seeing as how the Moccamaster is really pretty expensive – close to $300 retail. Now there are several affordable options available to take that kind of quality home, and here’s some we spotted at SCAA 2012.
Bona Vita BV-1800
We’ve seen Bona Vita explode into the market within the last year, and we love their strategy of developing quality products for the professional and the consumer at very accessible price-points. The BV-1800 features a battery of top-of-the-heap features: a 1400 watt heating element to bring the water temperature up to 205ºF; an optimal-flow shower screen that evenly saturates the bed of coffee; and German engineered stainless-steel construction. The Bona Vita is only the third consumer brewing machine to obtain SCAA certification, and available now.
Behmor, Inc., best known for the Behmor 1600 home coffee roaster, is launching a feature-loaded consumer batch brewer this summer. Behmor have gone out of their way to develop components that are within extremely high tolerances, so that each brewer has a combined tolerance of as little as 1/2%. Not only do the tolerance of the components contribute to this, but the BraZen features an auto-calibration mode and altitude corrections to compensate for environmental and material variations that may happen over time. The dispersion head has been designed to evenly saturate the flat bed of coffee, and the Brazen has a non-volatile memory that recalls settings that include pre-soak time and water temperature, which is also variable.
Further Reading: Brazen Press Release (PDF)
Bodum E-Bodum Pourover
Bodum’s new home batch brewer is a new addition to their Bistro Powertools line, which means it’ll match your Bistro Toaster, electric mixer, and other kitchen tools for a tres chic Bistro experience at home, or something. Bodum’s goal with the E-Bodum Pourover is to provide a French-Press-like taste profile in a pour over style. This is achieved in part by Bodum’s etched metal filter basket, which provides the texture that you would expect from a French Press. The bubble pump delivers pulses of 200-205ºF degree water to a removable showerhead. As it turns out, all of the removable parts on the E-Bodum Pourover are machine washable, with the exception of the stainless-steel carafe. Expect to see the E-Bodum in four colors later this spring, along with a matching stepless conical burr grinder.
Bunn Trifecta at Home, Phase Brew
Bunn is making some serious headway into the discerning consumer market with a handful of new brewers.
The Phase brew is different from most consumer batch brewers, in that it heats all of the brew water in a tank, so that only temperature stable water is being gravity fed over the bed. This is mechanically very different than flash heating cool water and relying on water vapor to drive a bubble pump. Because the water heats as a batch, the brew process is a little longer; roughly 5 minutes to heat the water, then another 5 minutes to brew. The added time, though, assures temperature stability, all of which has been vouchsafed and backed up the Phase’s SCAA certification.
Many of you may already be familiar with the Trifecta, Bunn’s in-cafe single cup machine focused on variable bubble agitation and minute control over temperature and extraction time. Trifecta at Home inherits a similar interface of variable extraction times and agitation in a stable temperature environment. The variable agitation settings, A-F, correspond to the desired perceived acidity of the cup: One setting may be appropriate for a chocolatey, earthy Indonesian coffee, while F setting may be what’s appropriate to highlight the acidity of a Kenyan or washed Ethiopian. A coffee can be infused for 40, 45, or 50 seconds, and the combination of time and agitation are replicable recipes that Trifecta at Home users can share for individual coffees. The fine stainless steel mesh filter endows the cup with a velvety cup more like siphon than French Press. The Trifecta at Home will make a cup at a time, very close to back to back. Expect to see it available by summer.
Matthew P. Williams is a longtime informal contributor to this website. He lives in Portland, Oregon and works for Stumptown Coffee Roasters.